The British Prime Minister Tony Blair has met the Iraqi President Jalal Talabani in Baghdad.
Blair said his government does not intend to keep troops in Iraq longer than they are needed, but he would not be drawn on deadlines.
He said: “What we want to see – and I want to emphasise this to people in Iraq – we want to see Iraq a sovereign independent nation in theory and in practice, with Iraqis in control of every aspect, including their security.”
Blair also met the new Iraqi Prime Minister, Nuri al-Maliki, making himself the first world leader to visit Baghdad since its new government was inaugurated on Saturday.
Maliki says he believes his forces could be in charge in most of Iraq by December. Officials travelling with Blair are reported as saying that all foreign troops could be gone within four years.